Vienna

Any visit to the wine of Austria must begin with Vienna. This city is the only national capital where one can take a trolley-car to the wine country (and thence return safely after a long afternoon and evening in the Heurigen). The name "Wien" comes from the Latin name "Vindobona", the place where the good wine grows.

This is what the ancient Romans called it when they planted the 13th Legion on the banks of the Danube less than a hundred years into the AD: indigenous Celts had been growing wine-grapes here for nearly a thousand years by this point (die Kelten kelterten!).

And within the city limits of modern Vienna one finds some 700 hectares of land under vines. Much of this wine is grown to be consumed in the city's comfortable and homey taverns, but some from the best growers finds its way across the sea and onto the tables of discerning consumers and the best restaurants.

Vienna produces red wine as well as white, but a particularly specialty is the Wiener Gemischter Satz, in which up to a dozen different varieties are planted side-by-side in the same vineyard. In these traditional field blends, late ripening and early-ripening sorts grow together and are picked together, so when harvested, the latter provide the chew and the former bring the snap.

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